Voting history shows power of Young’s bloc

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/21/2013
Commissioners President Blaine Young says there's no point in denying the existence of a Frederick County voting bloc led by him. "I'm not going to run from the obvious," he says. For many, the four-commissioner alliance becomes particularly obvious during hot-button decisions, such as when the county decided to give up control of the local Head Start program. When officials approved an overhaul of fire and rescue funding. And when they sealed the sale of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living. Commissioner David Gray has been a voice of dissent from his seat on the panel's right flank, but in each of these decisions, he has been alone. From their first motion more than two-and-a-half years ago to the June 25 hearing on the future of Citizens and Montevue, the commissioners have cast 1,273 votes. The bulk of those, more than two-thirds, were unanimous decisions, many about routine issues. But Gray has been in the minority for almost 78 percent of the split votes and has acted as the sole dissenter in 269 of the decisions.

Voting history shows power of Young's bloc

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/21/2013
Commissioners President Blaine Young says there's no point in denying the existence of a Frederick County voting bloc led by him. "I'm not going to run from the obvious," he says. For many, the four-commissioner alliance becomes particularly obvious during hot-button decisions, such as when the county decided to give up control of the local Head Start program. When officials approved an overhaul of fire and rescue funding. And when they sealed the sale of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living. Commissioner David Gray has been a voice of dissent from his seat on the panel's right flank, but in each of these decisions, he has been alone. From their first motion more than two-and-a-half years ago to the June 25 hearing on the future of Citizens and Montevue, the commissioners have cast 1,273 votes. The bulk of those, more than two-thirds, were unanimous decisions, many about routine issues. But Gray has been in the minority for almost 78 percent of the split votes and has acted as the sole dissenter in 269 of the decisions.

Expert: Billing saps Citizens Care revenue

Former nursing home officer presents analysis to League of Women Voters
Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
06/15/2013
Under-billing for Medicaid payments is preventing Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center from turning a profit, a former nursing home officer said Friday. Melanie Cox's analysis found that if Citizens started collecting per-patient revenue at the rates of comparable centers, the facility would end up with a $2.8 million surplus in the second year. Cox presented her findings at a meeting organized by the League of Women Voters of Frederick County to discuss the potential privatization of Citizens and Montevue Assisted Living, two facilities now owned by the county. A Millersville-based company, Aurora Health Management, has extended a $30 million offer to buy the two centers. Frederick County's commissioners are exploring the sale as a way to eliminate the annual county subsidies required to sustain the centers. However, Cox said that, with some billing changes, the centers could become profitable, as evidenced by the fact that a private company wants to buy them. "I guarantee Aurora is not going into this thinking they will lose money," said Cox, former officer of Meridian Nursing Center.

Postpone planned privatization of Citizens and Montevue

Frederick News Post
Claire Kondig
04/18/2013
The Frederick County League of Women Voters urges the Board of County Commissioners to postpone action on the proposed sale of the Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living. The league believes that the county commissioners need more time to carefully and fully evaluate other options to improve operations and reduce county funding. Why rush to sell a brand new facility whose board is in the midst of efforts to increase revenues and reduce operating costs? These two facilities represent an important safety net for our community's most vulnerable elderly citizens. Therefore, it is essential to take the time to examine the impact of selling the facilities on the citizens of Frederick County, both now and in the future.

Lack of civility

Frederick News Post
Bonnie Bailey-Baker and Claire Kondig
05/26/2012
The League of Women Voters of Frederick County has been concerned not only with an apparent lack of transparency in the decision-making process of the Board of County Commissioners, but also by the disrespect shown by a commissioner who referred to those who spoke against proposed budget cuts to nonprofit organizations as "whiners." Does this type of dismissive name-calling contribute to civility in the governmental process? We don't think so. Advocating for funding for nonprofit organizations that participate in a competitive grant process to provide significant services to the community is certainly not "whining." Nor were religious leaders "whining" when they shared how congregations were already supporting social services with funding and volunteer time, but that they are not capable of filling the gap left by the withdrawal of county funds. The league is also concerned that Frederick County will be the only county in Maryland that will not support grant funding to worthy nonprofit organizations. The LWVFC urges the commissioners to remember that they represent all of the citizens of Frederick County. And that's not "whining." That's just good government.

Nonprofits to Frederick County: Take time privatizing

Ex-commissioner asks for 'thoughtful' tactics
Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
06/22/2011
Leaders from two area nonprofit organizations are calling for the Frederick County Commissioners to slow down on a proposal to privatize more than 500 county government jobs. In his report to the commissioners, Georgia consultant Oliver Porter last week recommended the board consider outsourcing core government services handled by about 500 of the county's more than 2,000 employees. Four public hearings on the proposal are scheduled for next month. On Tuesday, leaders from Friends of Frederick County and Envision Frederick County, two local nonprofits, met at C. Burr Artz Public Library to discuss the proposal with Frederick County Commissioner David Gray. At a public hearing last week, the League of Women Voters also called for a slower process. Friends of Frederick County and Envision Frederick County members suggested Porter's study should be reviewed by another consultant, or the county should consider establishing a pilot program of outsourcing only one department, instead of proceeding with Porter's plan of outsourcing all at once. "It's too big to rush into without a serious and thoughtful approach," said Kai Hagen, a former Frederick County commissioner who is now executive director of Envision Frederick County. He said the 27-page study contains little more detail than a brochure for Porter's business, PPP Associates, and described the report as a combination puff piece and sales pitch.

Candidates clash at final forum

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
10/27/2010
In a last-minute push for votes, candidates at a Tuesday night Frederick County commissioner forum went into attack mode on some of the biggest issues facing the county. Candidates disagreed on the effects of land use policy, how much the budget has been cut and whether the next board should reverse a decision to build a regional waste-to-energy trash incinerator. Ten candidates are running for five slots on the commissioners board.